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back to article Viewsonic Viewpad 10e tablet

‘Budget tablet’ is a phrase that tends to crop up in reviews that only ever reach one conclusion: the product is pretty awful. But the new Viewsonic Viewpad 10e may be the exception that proves the rule, because this £200 Argos-exclusive ain’t half bad. Viewsonic Viewpad 10e Android tablet Viewsonic's Viewpad 10e adopts the …

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'alas no USB charging'

"Fair play to ViewSonic for being honest about the 2,700mAh power pack only offering around 5.5 hours and, indeed, between four and five hours is all you can expect. Loop a 720p video and the lights go out at just over the 3 hour mark."

The combination of these two factors makes for a massive fail. Who wants to carry ANOTHER wall wart around?

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would

You regret buying it when you got home and compared it to your mates new iPad?

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Re: would

that depends on whether or not the saving of £400 (a mortgage payment right there) was important to me.

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> 'alas no USB charging'

> "Fair play to ViewSonic for being honest about the 2,700mAh power pack only offering around 5.5 hours "

> The combination of these two factors makes for a massive fail."

Massive fail ? Really ? From my own tablet use, and that of others I known with one, the normal usage tends to be

- stick tablet in dock/on charging slab

- watch tablet in dock OR take out and veg on sofa/where-ever for a few hours or so of surfing and video watching

- stick tablet back in dock

I really don't know anybody who relies on a tablet for all day usage away from power. I'm certainly not saying they don't exist - far from it, i've heard people who do - but I personally think there are enough people who *don't* need that to make calling this tablet a "massive fail" a bit short-sighted (to be generous to you).

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The saving

Would only be £130 compared to the entry level iPad, for which you get a twin core A9 rather than a single core A8, plus 16GB of storage rather than 4, and 12 hours of video playback rather than 3. It looks rather less like a bargain at that point.

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Re: Re: would (@Dogged)

The equivalent iPad is GBP329 (iPad 2 from the UK Apple Store, still far exceeds this spec) - so you'd be saving 129 quid, not 400.

Please try at least to keep comparisons within spitting distance of reality.

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Re: The saving

But then you're up into territory where you could have bought a laptop, instead of a toy for browsing the web, which the cheap-o Android one will do a serviceable job of.

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Re: The saving

I disagree. To people who are actually short of cash 200 quid is a lot cheaper than 330 quid. If you don't think so then you're probably not the target market, but there are plenty of people in the UK today who'd find 330 quid out of the question but 200 just about doable.

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Re: would (@Dogged)

Lord Elpus: "The equivalent iPad is GBP329 (iPad 2 from the UK Apple Store, still far exceeds this spec) - so you'd be saving 129 quid, not 400."

Don't forget the extra £25 you'll need for the USB/SD connectivity kit to match the Viewsonic pad's out of the box I/O capability. This still only takes us up to £~154 but (speaking as a generally happy iPad 2 owner who only occasionally wants to throw the thing at the wall when trying to get content on or off the damned thing...) the Viewsonic tab is still looking like an entirely viable alternative to me...

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@Lord Elpuss

I read "your mate's new iPad" as referring to the new iPad - that one with the networking tech that doesn't work here and that's heavier and thicker than the old one but that fuckwits will still sleep on pavements for.

You know, that one.

So £400 quid - not so far off, really.

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Re: The saving

If you're tight enough for cash that £200 is just about doable, WTF would you spend it on a tablet?

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Re: The saving

Just on the point of storage a few quid more will get you 32GB for this as it has an expansion slot.

£130 is also about two-thirds of the purchase price again so it's not a trivial price hike.

I agree though that this does show the difficulty rivals face in trying to compete with Apple tablets - it's difficult to beat their price to any significant extent without intolerable compromises being made.

This looks like one of the best attempts yet to me.

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Re: The saving

The argument wasn't that £200 isn't less than £330, but rather that the claimed saving of £400 wasn't true (the comparable iPad ISN'T £600), and for that extra money you get a much higher spec device.

CF ports aren't a requirement to get data on/off the device either. Services like Dropbox can solve the problem for you, or you can send data directly from the CF card via WiFi using Eye Fi CF cards.

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Re: The saving

also if you are splitting hairs at £130 over a £200 tablet device then I think you probably have other priorities that have more precidence.

Personally I would say that for the market it is in it is overpriced. At least expensive laptops have better components in them (dedicated graphics cards, bigger screens etc). A 2gb storage on android isnt going to get you far if you decided to download 400mb of GTA3 and another 600mb real racing 2. Even my galaxy S2 is getting taxed on its 12gb storage (with a 32gb card).

I'd say pass on this and save your pennies for something better be it a tab or ipad

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@xenny, 11:03

If you're tight enough for cash that £200 is just about doable, WTF would you spend it on a tablet?

As a birthday present for a 16 year old who'd worked hard at school and got good grades?

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Re: @Lord Elpuss

The new iPad - the one that costs 399? 200 quid difference then; actually quite a long way off from 400. And the iPad 2 is still available new from Apple; it's arguably a more accurate comparison with this ViewSonic, being Apple's newest 'budget' tablet now that the iPad 3 is on the shelves.

Not saying you don't have a point by the way, just that you're not comparing apples with apples (so to speak)

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@Tim Parker

I specifically bought my tablet to watch films when flying long distances, so for me a 10 hr battery life is crucial.

Another use case is the long weekend camping, when I won't have any power for 72 hours. It would be nice if it lasts until I get home, with some usage each day.

Admittedly, these aren't every day use cases. Typically, I use it on the tube to and from work, it sits in a dock on my desk playing music at work, similar at home, and then to bed to read a book, or I use it as the remote control for my TV.

However, if it didn't have the long battery life, I probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place. It's like buying watches, do you get the water resistant watch, the 5m waterproof watch, or the 50m divers watch? I would hazard that the majority of people buying the divers watch do not spend all day diving, but would like the opportunity of doing so.

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Re: would @LarsG

No you wouldn't because at the end of the day you wouldn't be an utter waster.

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Re: The saving

You've got to love fanboy logic;

"OMG why don't you buy the Apple product instead, it only costs 70% more!"

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Re: The saving

If folks are that hard up then they shouldn't be considering buying a tablet.

More like food and paying the heating maybe?

That's why we are all in this crappy situation. People cant get their priorities right.

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Re: The saving

What makes you think they haven't paid for food and heating first? Don't get me wrong, there are all sorts of fools out there getting into terrible debt. That doesn't mean that if you're not on a massive income you should live like a hermit and shun all technology. Some people budget responsibly and it allows them to pay the bills and have little luxuries every so often.

This kind of knee-jerk "It's the chav's that ruined the economy" bullshit really gets on my tits.

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Re: The saving

You've got to love straw man logic;

"OMG they pointed out that the plucked-out-of-the-air £400 was a misrepresentation; they must be saying that money doesn't matter!"

Takeaway conclusions: the Viewsonic looks lovely, the iPad isn't as much more expensive as some people seem to think even though it is much more expensive in relative terms, transparent attack hounds make Internet comment boards boring.

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Paris Hilton

"But the new Viewsonic Viewad 10e may be the exception"

Viewsonic ViewAd? Sounds about right.

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Playbook is £169

How does it compare with the £169 playbook?

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Re: Playbook is £169

The Playbook is the better machine on balance, but it's got a much smaller screen. For reading ebooks I'd take the ViewPad. Horses for courses.

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more cheap tablet reviews please...

i have started seeing android ones for around £70 now... thats a lot cheaper than an ipad. we use our phones as remotes for our various audio systems around the house, but since the apps dont multitask properly (its all sony homeshare stuff connected to amps & speakers) every time i do something else on my phone i have to dig through many DLNA folders again to get to the music. a simple 7" one we could dedicate to this would be a pretty decent alternative

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Re: more cheap tablet reviews please...

generally these are shite but excellent for the kids. If it plays flash then bonus. We got a cheap no-name one from asda witha squashed box for £79. It was rooted, modded with 2.3 and runs flash nicely. Sure its no where near as fast as an ipad but for that price it also doubles as a great XBMC remote when the kids are in bed.

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Re: more cheap tablet reviews please...

danny, i dont mind that. i have a powerful PC at home and a beast of a workstation plus a netbook that can browse 20 chrome tabs at a push, far better for internet the way im used to than an ipad.

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A small world for the author.

There are plenty of 4/3 Android tablets around if you car to look.

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Re: A small world for the author.

Fair cop. I should have said that it's the only one that shares the iPad's screen size and aspect ratio.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A small world for the author.

No I'm not driving....

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Anonymous Coward

Finally!

Finally an android tablet with a proper aspect ratio! Finally, something that I might actually give a second look to - 16:9 aspect ratio is a deal breaker right there.

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Anonymous Coward

Another budget tablet

so its bigger than my year old 7" Galaxy Tab, but is it any better?

mini-HDMI versus AV out ok Viewsonic win that fight (although how often do you connect your tablet to a TV?), but 3 hour battery life in video = fail, power brick charger = fail, 4gb storage = fail. Antutu score 1882 = fail my 7" GT is 2435).

I'll give it another year before I consider upgrading.

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WTF?

Eh? Exclusive? So the fact that Maplin has this in all its stores (see http://mobile.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?moduleno=615474 ) doesn't count?

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Anonymous Coward

Exclusive in the fact that its cheaper at Argos?

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Anonymous Coward

iPAD COMPARISON

An iPad will barely charge plugged into a computer, it needs it's high current wall-wart too.

One fail however, for Android, will be the horribly implemented BBC iPlayer app on Android compared with near perfect operation on IOS. E.g. Android (but not IOS) app loses place when reopened, and screen must be on while listening to radio in Android (!).

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Re: iPAD COMPARISON

That's more likely due to Auntie's obsession with iThings - she probably spent all of 2 minutes writing the Android version (including a tea break)

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Anonymous Coward

You're missing the big story here.........

"Industry admits other manufacturer exists!!"

Next thing you know, people will be admitting that a new blackberry just came out, and even wondering what the spec of the next HTC offering will be.

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Megaphone

Good but ... there is another cheaper better alternative

This is a reasonable product but in my opinion there is a better alternative. The Hannspad SN10T1 doesn't have the viewsonic name behind it but it is ~160 GBP dual core tegra 2 tablet. It has the DC arm A9 1Ghz cpu, 10 inch screen 16:9 1024x600, 512Mb RAM, 16Gb storage, MicroSD, 3650mAh battery, mini HDMI, bluetooth, Wifi etc the list goes on and on. The downside are that it doesn't have a camera or 3G and the Tap'n'Tap OS/UI/interface thing that comes with it really puts you off. However, get rid of that and put on Team DRH ICS and it screams along and the Tegra games work (most not all at the moment). Its quite a transformation and thats why I have bough 3, one for each of my daughters. I've tried numerous ROMs on it from different people and have never read of anybody bricking one of these as there is a volume up APX power on mode as well as the usual volume down CWM power on mode for recovery. For the money and the spec I can't find anything better. I mean tegra 2 for 160 quid! unbelivable.

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Facepalm

"only Android tablet with an iPad-like aspect ratio" ? - except the Archos 80 G9 I bought for my daughter (and now constantly borrow). Dual Core, USB charging, Honeycomb, GPS, 8Gb built in + real Android market out of the box with ICS to come. Add £43 for 3G

Ah - it's only 8" I hear you say (thereby anticipating the iPad Mini by about a year). My mistake - the 10" one is (1280x800) so I guess doesn't count as it's better than the iPad. Street price of the 80 G9? £199.

Come on El Reg - keep up!

(Oh and the Kogan 10" I bought first is also 1024x768 and £179 but that is another story...)

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Fair cop #2. See above.

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iPad-style 4 x 3 display, and rounded corners. Is there an Apple lawyer in the house?

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WTF?

budget?

I paid £75 for a Elonex eTouch ET1000 10 inch Tab (zt180), last year and am still using it, not perfect by a long short but £75 was a lot easier to find than £200! To ad,d I just got my partner an Arnova 7b G2 for her birthday and paid £75 also. Now that's what I call BUDGET tablets for those of us of live in the Real world!

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@Headwest: The ICS update for Archos Gen9 tablets is actually already out. My Archos 80 Gen9 is running ICS for a week now and I love it.

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Almost there...

I could probably live with the battery life and the no-usb charging -- how big/heavy is the charging unit...? If it's a bitty iPod-sized one then that's not too bad for occasional carrying around. (And how come I never seem to hear anyone ranting about non-user-swappable batteries being deal-breakers anymore, now that Apple's not the only one shipping them...? <gr>)

For me, the problem is the 4GB storage. Sure, you can add SD cards, but as long as there are apps that won't run from SD cards, then they're not *REALLY* as useful as having on-board storage.

Still, they ARE getting closer to what I'm looking for; they're just not qu-i-i-i-i-ite there yet.

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Happy

This tablet is unique

The 9.7" 4:3 screen + micro SD slot makes the 10e stand out form the crowd, I'm not aware of any other tablet on the market with that spec. With the iPad you have to fiddle with an SD adapter and I understand you can't use SD cards for storage with an iPad (only for copying files across).

Interesting comment from Mike Moyle about some apps not running from SD cards, but I guess you can choose to put those ones onboard till something better appears. How common are these apps I wonder, anyone know?

Viewsonic have the advantage of making their own panels so they can get 4:3 stock, which I understand is otherwise mostly swallowed up by iPad production. As Samsung produce the 4:3 panels for Apple I suspect this hinders them from using them in their own tablets. It would be really interesting if Samsung restricted supplyies to Apple & produced their own 4:3 tablet. Look out for the lawyers!

With ICS this should make a great tablet, provided the comments about performance are correct. Who needs a rear facing camera? Shame the battery can't be swapped out though. I'd really like to see Viewsonic aim at the high end as well as the budget market and produce one of these with a better battery & more memory, oh and a full size SD slot please. I for one would buy that in preference to an iPad and a lot of other people looking for an Android alternative to the iPad might too. I don't hear any Apple users asking for a 16:9 iPad, so why do all the other vendors think we might buy an Android one?

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Archos do one with a dual core cpu. As I think other people have already pointed out.

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